I have a base of anxiety that sits in my stomach, growing as each day passes.
It seeps into my sleep and wakes me at night. It keeps me from eating, or encourages me to overeat, depending on the time of day or my mood. It is making me a news-aholic – turning on news radio every time I step into the car; flipping to a news-ticker station any time I watch TV.
It’s a growing feeling of helplessness as I watch our nation coming closer and closer to the brink of starting a war that very well may become the next World War III.
The fear propels me to worry.
If we start a pre-emptive war, it may only serve to unite other countries against us. Why give those nations another reason to hate us? Why prove Iraq has the capability for nuclear and biological weapons, then pick a fight with them? Won’t this only encourage them to make connections with terrorists, rather than frighten them from doing so?
I worry we are stepping into something that will have resounding effects that will color our foreign relations for years to come. I beg that there be a voice of reason, to help our leaders seek a diplomatic solution.
I worry that we are propelling ourselves into a no-win situation. Anti-war demonstrations are happening all over the nation and world, yet our leaders seem to be discounting them, ignoring them altogether.
Other countries are lining up against us, and still, our leaders push forward.
Isn’t there someone our leader respects who could show him a way to back down, how to save face, rather than enter into a pre-emptive war? I wrack my brain searching for a prominent Republican (he already discounts all Democrats) who could show our leader how to save face and seek a diplomatic solution, rather than starting a war that may be against the United Nations’s approval.
In the first Gulf War, I was in college, and I remember the candlelight vigils for peace at my small liberal arts school in the mountains of North Carolina. This time around, my anxiety is much greater, and the helplessness I feel is overwhelming.
I’m very patriotic, and want to be supportive of the military, our president and our troops, but I just don’t understand what we are doing.
I don’t feel comfortable with my country acting like a bully. Daring other countries to veto, and pushing forward alone. That’s not our way of doing things. And I fear that we are all revved up, ready to strike, with no back-up plan on how to back out, rather than the other way around.
Talking to local clergy about the rising levels of anxiety they are seeing in their congregations, and what they are doing in response, was fascinating and is helping me put things into perspective. The dichotomy they must address every Sunday of supporting families of troops while also soothing this growing anxiety about war shows in a nutshell the complexity of this whole situation.
We must realize that we are an international community ourselves. As one pastor put it, we are not a boat ride away from these other countries, we are an e-mail away.
It’s time we start looking at the world in that way.
Pamela Brice is the editor of the Shoreline/Lake Forest Park Enterprise Newspaper.